HISTORY AND CULTURE OF BARRIO TAGUMBAO
The present official name of the Barangay isTagumbao. One of the progressive and flourishing Barangay of Gerona is Tagumbao. It is situated along a river, almost four kilometers west of the town of Gerona the Town Proper. This Barangay is home to Two Hundred Fifty Families who are almost tillers of the soil.
How the Barangay acquired its present name is an interesting account which dates back to the Spanish time.
During the early days, Tagumbao was one of the many places covered with thick forest. People from all corners want from place to place to hunt wild animals and wild fowls. It happened that a Group of Pangasinan hunters reached this place. These brought with them some roosters to be used as decoys to lure wild fowls. Upon detecting the presents of wild fowls, they constructed temporary huts for shelter. They selected a place near a pond where they could get their water supply. It was surrounded by “TAWWA-TAWWA” plants which the Pangasinan hunters called ” TAGUMBAO” and their dialect. Their system of catching wild fowls was simple and practical. They tied their rooster in a clearing and surrounded them with snares when, the decoys crowed, the wild chickens converged to attract or challenge them. In the course of duels, the hunters pulled the snares with joy to see the wild fowls ensnared by their feet. Every week and these hunters brought home the wild fowls caught and from time to time returned to the hunting ground as often as they desired. Thrilled by the bountiful catch they brought home, the hunters christened the place ” TAGUMBAO”.
The next group of people settled in the place where the Ilocanos. They found the tawwa-tawwa plan’s growing in abundance. These plants are not big. They bore round fruits like guavas and the like. These turned yellow when ripe. These same people made clearings and cut down the plants. They made use of the branches for fencing their fields and yards. The fruit ware utilized as petroleum after extracting the oil from the dried seeds. This oil extracted from, the seed served as petroleum for lighting their small lamps called “Mellet”. Since then the plant had been cherished by the people. The people lived happily and peacefully. They worked patiently in their farms from sunrise to sundown. The peace they so enjoyed was marred by an incident that led to another story naming the place Tagumbao.
One night, the people were awakened by the trotting of horses and shouts made by a band of robbers who came from the direction of the town. These robbers headed by the captain and a right-hand man robbed a rich family in the town. The Guardia civil pursued the fleeing outlaws who followed the road leading to the barrio. They tied at the bandits, hitting the captain mortally. He fell from this horse and shouted a command to his right-hand man. “Tago na Badong”. The right-hand man snatched the bag of gold his captain and escaped from his captors. The captain kept on shouting “tago na badong” until he became weaker and weaker because of the loss of much food. The Guardia civil found the captain in a state of agony but was still in a talking mod although his speech was already hard to understand. When the guardias question him all he could utter was “Tago Ba, tago Ba”. He the breath his last. Since then and for the third time, Catawtawaan was re-christened Tagumbao after the last words of the bandit captain. About the end of the nineteenth century, a group of land seekers from the densely populated Ilocano region migrated to this Barrio to try their luck for a better living. This group was headed by the Asuncion, Valete, Ramos, Facun, and Gragasin families who came from the distant town of Bacarra, Ilocos Norte. This group was followed by another group of immigrants from Sinait, Ilocos Sur headed by the Taberna Family. This newcomer settled in the eastern part of the Barrio and form a Barrio which they called Casinaitan meaning full of people from Sinait. Those who made their homes in the Northern part of the barrio called their sitio Kamuning because of the abundance of Kamuning tree in the place. Thus the barrio was divided into three parts, namely; Tagumbao proper, Casinaitan, and kamuning, in the course of time, other sitio were established. The Asuncion family wanted to be independent. They left Tagumbao proper and established themselves in a place and called Malasin, an Ilocano term that means isolated. Not far from this home in the place and called it Bangar. A neighboring sitio of Bangar is Loquit. This sitio was settled by three families. How this sitio got its name is quite funny. An old folk from the barrio related thus: Among the grouped of three families, was a man who was a professional cook fighter. He had many roosters tied in his house one could hardly walk without stepping on chicken manure. This place was then called Loguit which when literally translated means chicken manure. The last of all the sitios worthwhile mentioning is Sarangkinod. This also is just south of Bangar and Loguit. How it got its name is also funny and interesting. it was a particular place lived a woman whose way of walking was extraordinary. The women whose lives a woman whose ways of walking was extraordinary? This woman whose name was Sarang (pet name for Lazara) walked with the entire lady moving in forward and backward. Whenever the people saw her they shouted and laughed at the top of their voices, “sarangkinod”. From that time they called the placed Sarangkinod. After all these families had established themselves inn their new homes, they formed themselves into barangays. Each Barangays was headed by a “cabeza”. The Cabezas de barangay were chosen by the Alkalde Mayor A. Cabeza was called Don as a distinction and honor if being such. He was one owned a large track or land or one who was financially stable. Whenever the member of his Barangay could not pay taxes on him. The Cabeza was empowered to confiscate the land of de Barangay in Tagumbao was Don Pedro Pascua. He was a man of high moral character and a respectable personality. He held his position for a number of years. He was automatically resigned after his properties were confiscated by the government in payment of their long-overdue taxes which his poor subjects could not pay. After the resignation of Don Pedro Pascual there came to a succession of different Cabezas de barangays. Among those worthy of mention were the late Don Tiburcio Taberna, Bartolome Taberna, Gervicio Asuncion, and Anastacio Gragasin. All these Cabezas de barangay did their best to promote the welfare of the people under them. The Cabezas de barangay after some time was changed by heads called tenientes de barrio. These barrio lieutenants were selected by the people or appointed by the Alkalde Mayor.
The first set of barrio lieutenants served in succession during the middle party and the latter part of the Spanish rule. They were Laurenao Bolusan, Aguedo Fajardo, Gregorio Laureano, Hipolito Valete, Laureano Facun, and Clemente Valete. The achievements of these tenietes were numerous and among them are the following.
1. The widening and elevating of the barrio roads,
2. The construction of a schoolhouse better than the tribunal. In this connection, they encouraged the people to cut down trees in the nearby forest which they used as posts and materials for a two-room building.
The second set of barrio lieutenants composed of the following and whose services covered the American regime on the island. They were Ambrocio Asuncion, Fernando Bulosan, Francisco Sabado, Teodoro Tindoc, Mariano Valete, Juan Capinding, Vicente Faacun, Maximiano Labutong, Doming Sabado, and Luis Quibuyen. Their achievements were as follows.
1. They fostered a higher attitude and regard for education.
2. They encourage and led the barrio people to provide galvanized iron roofing for the two-room building. The foundation of the school was made concrete an iron gate was constructed through the donation of one Capinding.
3. The so-called school committee together with the barrio councilor was organized.
The third set of barrio lieutenants whose tenures of office covered the time when then the Philippines was given more autonomy, during the Japanese occupation, to-date are the following; Patricio Capinding, Gelacio Agustin, the incumbent. Reliable information revealed that Mr. Capinding became a barrio lieutenant from 1937 to 1947 or a period of ten years. His remarkable achievements are the following. Organization of the retailer’s association.
1. Prevention of maltreatment of civilians by the Japanese soldiers through his factful intervention.
2. Acting as a mediator to avoid clashes between the Japanese soldiers and guerillas.
3. Finding a good market for the foodstuffs raised in Tagumbao with the Japanese.
Mr. Capinding followed by an energetic barrio lieutenant in the person of Gelacio Agustin whose records are unparallel and unbroken. He started holding his position in 1948. His excellent achievements are hereby enumerated.
1. The completion of the barrio chapel.
2. He fostered a harmonious understanding between the residents of Sinait and those Kamuning.
3. Bringing about closer contract and better-attitude of all parents towards the school.
4. Construction of additional school buildings to accommodate the increasing school population.
5. Purchase of an additional school site.
6. Construction of the Kamuning place to check the bareful floods during the rainy days.
7. Organization of Junior and Senior PTA.
8. The establishment of a complete Elementary School in the barrio.
9. The construction of community reading centers.
During the Spanish regime, the Spaniards first built a school in the barrio Plaza. The Spanish school was “Tribunal”. Later on, the building was converted into a tenencia which was used by the people for hiding their meetings and for settling disputes. In the Tribunal, the cartilla was taught. When the cartilla was fully mastered, the passion, a story about the sufferings of Christ was taught. The reading of the Passion is still practiced by the people especially during the Lenten Season to commemorate the sufferings of Christ. From among the teachers who sacrificed much for the enlighten of the masses during this. Only two can be mentioned Mr. Vicente Capinding and Mr. Macatiag.
Tarlac was an exemption during the tobacco monopoly. The government officials were often dishonest and cruel. The abuses of this official were prevalent, too, in Tagumbao. The houses of the poor farmers were searched and ransacked. They cunningly threw some tobacco leaves under the house just so that farmers will be fined. The people of the barrio suffered much from the abuses of the government inspectors.
The treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898, ended Spanish sovereignty over the islands and marked the begging of American rule. During the period, the people of Tagumbao enjoyed peace and tranquility. Abuses and cheating when no longer rampant among the people. Then the American soldiers reached the barrio. The soldiers suspected the people of keeping firearms. They searched them to surrender their firearms. A suspect was made to drink several buckets of water. Then he would be told to lie down whereupon the guard would step on his belly. The punishment did not last long because the barrio people gained the confidence of American soldiers. Soon the Americans built a school in the barrio. The most illustrious teacher during the early days of the American regime was Mr. Luciano Manalili.
The barrio was at the height of its progress and development when the cruel pangs of World War II broke the serenity and peace of our country. Some of the people evacuated to nearby barrios but others choose to remain. Some of the industries in the barrio were paralyzed and the school was closed. The Japanese soldiers visited the barrio once In a while and asked the people for some food and supplies. So far there were no reports of Japanese atrocities committed in the barrio. The people only experience the soaring city of prime commodities which they had enjoyed the outbreak of the war.